DOWNEY – Jesus, Aztec princesses and funnel cakes.
It had all the ingredients of a successful street fair. Or faire, in this case.
Orgnanizers of Saturday’s Downey Street Faire expected 10,000 revelers.
And I bet they got close. It was crowded.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert in street fairs since I live in Whittier, where we had one every Wednesday for years before the weekly event was recently cancelled.
All the bad kids from Downey would come to my city, smoke cigarettes and hit on the girls, who are prettier in Whittier, according to the popular T-shirt sold in Uptown.
I had my kids with me, so we headed straight for the musty smelling blow-up slides. The “rides” were $3 a pop. But when you’re dragging around a pair of little boys, you pay up.
My 3-year-old went into a big rat’s maze. I think the cat got him.
He didn’t come out for about 10 minutes.
Then the kids went to a big slide shaped like a saber-tooth tiger with his bottom sticking up in the air.
We had been there about 15 minutes, and I was already out $12. Since I was spending money at a nearly dollar-a-minute pace, I decided to look at some cars.
You better believe I saw a lot of Aztec princess pictures. Some stood with wolves. Others with moons. Some were hanging out with hunky Aztec guys.
It was hot, and this was a big event, so we decided to carb up by wolfing down a funnel cake.
We started down Brookshire and were hit up by someone from a church. Then another church. Then another church. They had balloons. Free pens. Water. Some even had free prayers.
I walked on and found my Downey Art Coalition buddies, which were right next to a Calvary Chapel tent with a puppet show. I sent the boys in.
In typical Calvary Chapel fashion, they gave the boys the old repackaged pop-culture routine. The puppets sang “I want it God’s Way,” which had the exact tune and most of the words from the Backstreet Boys 1999 mega hit “I want it that way.” I just looked at the lyrics online while I was writing this, and that is the absolute easiest song in the world to change into a a God song. The original lyrics are almost theologically correct.
After that was a Christian version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and I kind of mentally checked out for a minute. The next thing I knew, my 5-year-old was drinking some punch from a man dressed like a professor.
My 13-year-old was watching the whole time.
“That was crazy, and awesome.”
Next we went to get get some grub from the Papas & Dogs trailer at the north end of the fair. Sorry, faire, I meant. I fed the four of us and my friend’s kid for $25. I think I was undercharged. If you’re reading this, Veronica Taylor, I owe you $5.
Then someone from the food trailer brought me out another free meal. What the heck was going on here? Did they have a deal with L.A. Fitness or something?
After we listened to a Bolivian band play some Russian folk songs, my 5-year-old met up with his favorite wrestling buddy. They squared off on a patch of grass. My son took him down with a perfect double leg. My son’s buddy defended himself with sweet kicks before I broke them up. Then my 3-year-old’s balloon slipped off his wrist. He stood perfectly still with tears running down his cheeks as the balloon drifted out of sight.
It was like a French movie.
I finally broke down and let the kids start spinning all the prize wheels. My daughter won a water bottle, and then the 3-year-old threw a tantrum because he only won a pen.
That was my cue. We made for the car.
Best wishes to all the business owners who participated. I hope you guys got lots of leads. I know it’s scary out there. And thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for the fun event. It was well organized with lots of trash cans and lots of bathrooms.
Sorry I didn’t write this as a straight news story. After 11 years of being a reporter, I can’t ask people “So how did you like the fair?” anymore.